I had the opportunity last month to experience ‘a day in the life of a postie.’ While scooting around the acreage areas of North Maclean and Chambers Flat on a Postie Bike delivering the March issue, I became painfully aware of just how difficult some of us have made it for the Posties and Contractors to do their job safely and in a timely manner.
The size of letters has changed. Posties are regularly delivering A4 documents now. Folding them to fit in your letterbox slot wastes time and damages the documents. So make sure your letterbox can receive an A4 document fully into the box without any manipulation.
Here’s the AusPost recommended specifications:
At least 230mm internal width (left to right)
At least 330mm internal depth (front to back)
At least 160mm internal height (from top to bottom)
The slot should be the full width of your letterbox, but not large enough for someone to fit their hand through
If you have letters sticking out of the front of your box, you are at risk of your mail being stolen or destroyed by bad weather. Sometimes this is due to the box having a spring-loaded flap that doesn’t allow the letter to slide easily into the slot. Alternatively, it’s just not big enough to receive a full A4 envelope all the way into the box.
As we pointed out in a recent article, there are some unique and interesting letterboxes around the neighbourhood, but if you’re going to do something unique, at least make it functional. If the postie needs to use two hands to get your mail in the slot, you’re costing him/her time. Whether it’s needing to lift a lid or pull a lever or the spring loaded flap on your box is so tight that an envelope can’t push it open, every additional movement is adding to their day.
When positioning a letterbox, most of us seem to do so from the perspective of getting mail out of the box with little consideration for the poor person trying to put your mail in. Your letterbox should be positioned on your front boundary facing the road so that your postie can easily access it as they go past. You don’t want to make them drive up your driveway or have to do a three-point turn to access your letterbox.
Have your street number clearly displayed on your letterbox. Don’t leave them guessing.
The safety of your mail delivery person is the main point in all of this.Make sure there are no obstacles in front of the letterbox. The most common ones I experienced were plants, garden beds, rocks, posts, and ditches. If these are in front of your letterbox, either find a better location for your letterbox or remove the obstacles. The area around your letterbox needs to be clear and stable for 3 metres either side and in front.
If your letterbox is falling apart, this could be the reminder you’ve needed to get a new one.
If you’re not sure if your letterbox is a help or a hinderance, take a second to ask your postie/contractor next time they come past.